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William Hogarth
Canvassing for Votes (Print)

Canvassing for Votes (Print) by William Hogarth at The Illustration Art Gallery

Ref: Hogarth2 (Click for LARGE picture)

Artist: William Hogarth (biography)
Medium: Lithograph print on Paper
Size: 24" x 18" (610mm x 450mm)
Date: 1975

This is a print.

Canvassing for Votes depicts Tory and Whig agents, both attempting to bribe an innkeeper to vote for them. The crowd outside the tavern is visible in the background. In a reference to the anti-Semitism of the crowd behind, a Jewish peddler is being employed by another agent who is offering jewels and ribbons to the wives of voters.

On the margins of the composition a soldier (left) and two old sailors (right) represent uncorrupted patriotism. The soldier peeps out from behind a now-impotently decorative figurehead depicting the British lion devouring the French fleur-de-lis. A woman sits on it looking at her bribes. The sailors on the right are re-enacting a naval victory using pieces of broken clay pipe.

This is one of a set of 4 high quality prints produced by Kingfisher. The Humours of an Election is a series of four engravings by William Hogarth that illustrate the election of a Member of Parliament in Oxfordshire in 1754. The oil paintings were created in 1755 and subsequently Hogarth created the engravings.

At this time each constituency elected two MPs, and there was a property qualification for voters, so only a minority of the male population was enfranchised. There was no secret ballot, so bribery and intimidation were rife. However, this traditional view has been questioned by recent historians who observed a lively local political participation in this time.

The original paintings are held by Sir John Soane's Museum, London.

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William Hogarth

William Hogarth